Thursday, February 28, 2013

Giveaway and Blogs by State Linky

Hi Friends!!
Our friend, Amelia from Where The Wild Things Learn is having a terrific giveaway to celebrate 100 followers!! We are SO thrilled to be a part of it!! We're giving away 2 winner's choice items from our TPT store, and there are nine other amazing bloggers participating as well. Amelia is giving away her WHOLE ENTIRE TPT STORE to the second very LUCKY winner! What a great giveaway!! Check her out and enter today!

Have you heard about this awesome Blogs By State Linky Party? It's great!! Dianne from Fifth In The Middle set up this statewide linky to connect bloggers across the country! Click on our our Florida button below, and link on up!!! 

Enjoy your Friday!! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Show and Tell Tuesday!! =)

Happy Show and Tell Tuesday! 
Today was felt like a really LONG day. We switched specials and lunch with 4th grade, so they could take their FCAT writes test. I don't envy their schedule... at all. I like my afternoon specials... makes for a quick end of the day. Thank goodness we're back to normal tomorrow. =)

I'm linking up with Denise from Sunny Days in Second Grade for her very awesome  Show & Tell Tuesday linky party. This week's topic... our classrooms! Click the link below to check out some amazing classrooms!! 
Here are some pictures from my classroom. I moved into this room after being in my old classroom for six years. I LOVE this classroom. It's really spacious in comparison to a lot of the classrooms in my school. My sister has the same exact classroom, but just on the opposite side and corner of the building. She has her room set up a little different than mine, but not much. 

Ok, so below is a picture of the area that you walk into upon entering my room. I have a little "office" type area set up with my filing cabinet, desk, and shelves. I'm a type A personality when it comes to organizing my space, so all of my papers are in their correct spaces, I have quite a few binders, and everything is labeled with my label maker. My students also have their own mailboxes where they can find their homework and fliers each day. Student workbooks are in the baskets next to and on top of the student mailbox. I don't give them their own books. Their desks don't get as messy, and their papers are always pulled out of the books neatly if I do it {or if I have a volunteer pull them}, I also can check papers quickly if they're pulled out as apposed to keeping their books intact... again type A. =)

Below is the view of my whole group meeting area. I have a carpet {I'd like a prettier one... zebra striped maybe??}, and a rocking chair {it needs a makeover!!}.  My kids were doing Daily 4 as I was snapping pictures. They were pretty focused... they're always impressing me. =) 

Below is my low circle table... they use it for word work or work on writing. They love sitting on the floor around the table. It's probably a nice change for them. The picture on the right shows a bit of my classroom library and my little white bench. Next to the little white bench is where my math workstations are kept. Can you believe I found those shelves on the curb? Awesome find!! 
In the picture below left,  is my other circle table. I frequently pull small math groups here, and during Daily 4 time, my kids like to sit here and read, do word work, or write. On the picture below right is one of my table groups. I have three of them with six desks in each group. At the very beginning of the year, I tried to do a "u" shape with my desks, but they were always out of whack by the end of the day. It was driving me CRAZY! After about a week of the madness, I switched to table groups. This is MUCH better. My favorite part is the hanging paper lantern with the table group sign.  I would hang so much more stuff from the ceiling if it wasn't so high!

The picture below left is a picture of my library. I have about 32 baskets with books separated by genre. All of the books are numbered with the number and name of genre on the front of the basket. The pictures below right are of my guided reading area. I have guided reading books that range from level d through v. My highest leveled readers are old science and social studies readers that were going to be sent to surplus last year. I jumped on them before they were sent away!  As you can see, I don't use my cubbies or hooks for my kids... they store their backpacks and lunchboxes in laundry baskets below their mailboxes {see top picture}.
All of the pictures below are of my front board area. My schedule and common board are on the left, my word wall is in the middle, and my calendar and number of the day are on the right. In the space below my front board are my students' reading logs. I find that if they display their reading logs, they'll use them more, rather than out of sight out of mind. =)
So there you have it... my home away from home. I took a ton of pictures, but I think this is a pretty good representation of my space. I hope you enjoyed it!!  If you have any questions about how I organize my space, please ask!! I'd LOVE to answer your questions. =) 

In other news... we're SUPER close {1 friend away} from 400 friends {OMG!!}!! I haven't put together our 400 follower giveaway yet, so if you're interested in being a part of it, please let me know by leaving a comment below with your email address! Thanks in advance for your help!! 

Have a FABULOUS rest of the week!!! Don't forget to check out all of the BEAUTIFUL classrooms... click below! 


Sunday, February 24, 2013


Happy Sunday!

Before I begin my Sunday cleaning regimen {blehhhh}, I've been doing some blog hopping. There are two awesome giveaways going on!! Hop on over to Teaching and Tapas, she has a HUMONGOUS giveaway going on! There are over 100 teaching products up for grabs!! She has 5 different rafflecopters going on (k, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th/5th)! I hope I win the 2nd grade one! Fingers crossed!!

Tonya at Tonya's Treats for Teachers is celebrating 700 followers!! WOW!! She has an awesome giveaway with help from 26 different bloggers!! Again... I hope I win! Fingers crossed!!! =) 
Ok... I've procrastinated enough. It's time to clean... ugggg. I'm not looking forward to cleaning this messy mess of a playroom below!! We just cleaned it last Sunday, but Makenzie is like a little tornado! I can tell her that everything has a place and she should put everything in its place until I'm blue in the face, but she doesn't listen. I can't blame her though... I was a HUGE mess maker when I was little and a bit older too. I wasn't on top of my messes until I was in COLLEGE! Now, I'm a neat, neat, neat, neat freak... especially in my classroom. Ahhh... wish me luck!!

Hooray... we're done!! It didn't take as long as I thought it would! Here's the after pic... she has WAY too many toys, but she freaks out if I try to give them new homes. I'm going to have to break her of it. We have to talk to her about how there are lots of children who don't have toys and it would be very nice to give them some. She's very compassionate, so I'm hoping that she'll understand. If not, I'll just do a sweep of her playroom when she's spending a weekend at Nana's house.  It has to be done. ugggg.  =)

Have a Super Sunday! I hope Les Miserables and Jennifer Lawrence pull out wins tonight at the Oscars!!


ps... the pretty yellow paper is from Ashley Hughes, The School Supply Addict and the swirly borders are from The 3 AM Teacher, These ladies are so talented and so generous!! =)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Black History Projects and My Baby's First Field Trip

This week was great... short and sweet! We were off on Monday for President's Day and Friday I took a personal day to chaperone for my daughter's first ever field trip.

We had three days filled with Presidents and black history projects galore! LOTS of Social Studies going on in my classroom! My kiddos can't get enough... they're sponges for informational text and all things American history. I love it since history was always my favorite subject growing up! I would have been a history teacher if I didn't love little ones so much... maybe when I get old and cranky, I'll have something to fall back on. LOL.

Here are a few pictures of the AMAZING projects my kiddos completed at home. I was absolutely speechless when they came is with their fabulous work! I wasn't expecting too much since they're only 7 and 8 years old, but I was blown away by the effort that they put into them.

Click  to grab a  copy of the Black History Project that I sent home with my sweeties. It's NOT fancy in the least bit! I had the idea on a Thursday and assigned it the next day. I will beautify it for next year, but for now it's FREE to whomever would like it!!

On Friday I was a chaperone for the first time ever! My daughter's afternoon Pre-k class along with the morning Pre-k class got together and went to the Orlando Repertory Theater to see their rendition of Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat. Holy moly! They put on such an AMAZING play!! The kids giggled throughout and loved every single second of it! I watched Makenzie most of the time. I loved seeing her laugh and light up each time there was a funny part {there were LOTS}!!  It was her first play and she was so well behaved. She made me a proud Mama! Her class was spectacular as well!

Here is a picture of Makenzie when she first got onto the bus... her first bus ride EVER! She LOVED it... and she LOVED seeing all of the "HUGE" buildings as we passed downtown Orlando. If she thinks they're big, I can't wait to see her reaction in New York City {some day}!!

Here is a picture of Mak's class in front of the Cat in the Hat sign... they're so cute! I wish you could see their adorable faces and I wish I got a better picture of the sign. I'm sure someone did. I hope!

We're only a few friends away from 400! Stay tuned for a giveaway coming up SOON!! Happy weekend everyone!! 


P.S. thanks to Dream Like Magic, The 3 AM Teacher, and Glitter Meets Glue Designs for the cute paper and frames above!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Giveaways Galore!!

Happy Sunday!!

I wanted to let you know about two awesome giveaways!

Our friend Aimee's 400 follower giveaway is almost over! You have until midnight to enter. Check out her super cute blog at Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks!

Our new friend, Christina is celebrating 100 followers with a fabulous giveaway as well! We're thrilled to be a part of it! Check her out at Apples, Books, and Crayons!

We're almost at 400 followers!! It's unbelievable because we JUST celebrated 300! We're so excited and we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our friends, so I'll be setting up another giveaway! Let me know if you'd like to be a part of it, we'd LOVE to have you! =) 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Crazy Pinning, Formal Observation, Teacher's Notebook, and Number of the Day

I've been pinning like crazy today! I'm looking for some pinspiration for my formal observation. I want to do a reading lesson, but I don't want to use our basal! I'm sick of it, and it's not very exciting at all.  My kids have way more fun and are engaged so much more when I teach outside the box {literally and figuratively!!}! I'm thinking about visualizing, writing about what they were visualizing, and how authors use adjectives to help their readers visualize. I don't know though... I'll probably change my mind 5 times from now 'till my pre-observation conference. If you have any great ideas for Second Grade, or book ideas, please let me know!

Last year I did a really great inference lesson, so this year I'd like to do something else. My observation this year is with my new Principal, so I'd like to impress him. Who doesn't want to impress? :-) I'm a little nervous though... even after 12 years of teaching!

Our district uses Marzano's teacher evaluations. The observations are so in depth that it's so hard to "cover" all of the things that they're looking for. I'm just going to teach the way I know best, and hopefully that's what he's looking for.

Speaking of evaluations and observations, observing veteran teachers other than simple walk throughs is a pretty new concept for our district. In the past we were able to complete a growth plan or do an action research project and they counted that for our evaluation. When we were new, we were observed two times a year, and that was that. Now, new teachers have two formal observations, and at least two informal observations and veteran teachers have at least two informal observations and one formal. I completely understand the reasoning behind it, but it's pretty stressful. Especially when you don't know when your informal is coming! How are things in your district? Same ole, same ole, or have things drastically changed in the last few years like in ours? We'd love to hear about it, and how you're adjusting.

Did you know that it's free to sign up with Teacher's Notebook now? We found out last week, and decided to take the Teacher's Notebook plunge! We're in the process of adding our products and we will be selling them for the same price as our TPT products. If you prefer to shop on Teacher's Notebook, please check out our TN shop and follow us.

On another note, I've been busy like a bee working on my Second Grade Number of the Day Packs... so far I've put four of them up on TPT. I have four more to go for second grade and then I'm going to start working on third grade. If there is a theme that you'd like for your class, please send me an email. I'd love to work on it for you!! =)

Have an awesome Saturday night!! My little girl, Makenzie is over her Nana and Granddad's house for the weekend, so my hubby and I are heading out tonight! It's been a while!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Number of the Day, a Freebie, and a Fabulous Giveaway!

Hi Friends!!
This year for math I decided I wanted to do something in addition to my regular old calendar routine. I saw some great ideas for number of the day. There are quite a few fabulous number of the day booklets and morning work out there on TPT. The biggest issue I have is my lack of copy paper and limit on copies that we have at our school. I was definitely not going to Kinko's either, so I decided to make my own number of the day white board set. It's pretty budget, and I made it before I had a grasp on how to make cute products.  My kids adore it though! They enjoy doing their number of the day work in their own number of the day journals. It's fantastic!                                                                    
                                                                                          OLD WAY-->

Well, it was fantastic until I started doing a little more research into Common Core math standards. Holy moly! There's a lot that goes into those standards!! I knew they were more rigorous than the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards which we're required to use until next year, but I didn't expect that much difference! What I LOVE about CCSS is the depth at which is expected within each standard. I also love that there are not as many standards as we have now, so you have the time to be able to go that much in depth. 

With my new found knowledge for the math CCSS {in 2nd grade}, I had a much better grasp on what a number of the day the Common Core way SHOULD contain. Alas my Second Grade Number of the Day Display pack was born. It covers ten different CCSS and it includes everything you'll need to make an interactive number of the day board. There are so many potential combinations of problems and skills, students will be challenged all 180 days of school. As an added bonus, there are also 10 extra pages of problems specifically geared toward challenging those high achievers in your class.

 Right now I just have one 2nd grade pack completed in Pink Zebra {which I've printed and laminated for my own classroom}, but I am also going to make packs in seven other different classroom styles. These styles below are the styles my colleagues in my school have in their classrooms.  If there is a style that you'd like and it's not pictured, I would be thrilled to work with you to design one that works for your classroom style!! Please email me if you'd like! 

My plan is to also make these packs for each grade level k-5! It might take some time, but my goal is to make them by the end of the school year, so they're ready for Summer planning. Please take this freebie {click on the pic below} and use it with your kids. It covers CCSS 2.OA.A.1. I hope you enjoy!! Let me know what you think!! 

Our friend Aimee at Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks is having an AMAZING 400 follower giveaway!! We are so thrilled and so honored to be a part of this giveaway! We're giving the winner 2 items from our TPT store. You MUST check it out, there are lots of great prizes and products to be won!! Our Little Birdy Blog Designs is also part of it too and we're giving the lucky winner the "Birdy Package"!! =) 

Happy Monday!! It's Bachelor time!! I can't wait to read Kristin's {A Teeny Tiny Teacher} Talk About it Tuesday blog post tomorrow!! Check it out last week's post... she's a hoot!! =) 

Monday, February 4, 2013

breakin' the law... breakin' the law

Hi Friends!
It was bound to happen in this pinterest inspired time we live in. I broke the fire code! {GASP!!!} Oh no!!!

I didn't do it on purpose, I swear. I really thought the the fire rule was 70% wall covering in a sprinkler building. Apparently it's only 50%. Whoops! My bad. I didn't get in trouble, but I had to remove some of the coverings. It stinks 'cause the walls aren't the prettiest, but what can you do? So here's my before picture of the bulletin board that I was so proud of a few weeks ago...

...and here's the after. Notice the sign missing from the top, and the bulletin board literally cut in half! I had to smoosh some stars in there too. Oh well! I'm all about complying and being a good rule follower, so I guess it's not that bad! I've learned my lesson, and I will no longer have floor to ceiling bulletin boards {even though they look cool!}. 
Taking down the title of this board left me with little dilemma. If you walked up to it, you'd have no idea what you were looking at, so I updated the board by adding speech bubbles above their pictures with their personal reading goals. MUCH BETTER!!! They are going crazy with their independent reading goals! Especially these two!! 
So that's my story about "breakin' the law". Have you ever gotten yourself in and out of the hotseat? =) 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Currently and a Super Sale!

It's February!! I love February... there are so many fun things to teach {Groundhog's day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, and black history month}. Plus it's a short month too, so once it's over, we're THAT much closer to Spring Break! I love it!

I'm linking up with the fabulous Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her monthly Currently linky party! Head on over to Farley's blog to link up too!

Listening: Makenzie loves the computer... she's a tech junkie already at the young age of 4... she's definitely our kid. She has a few websites that she likes to play, but her fav. is I love ABCmouse because it reinforces the skills she's learning in pre-k, but I also like it 'cause it's teaching her skills that she won't be exposed to until next year. She's on the final level of Kindergarten, and rocking and rolling right through it. Not sure what we'll do when she's done... if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Loving: My BFF, Michelle, from college (day 1 of freshman year) is down here with her family at Disney World! I've been living in Orlando for 12 years and this is the FIRST time she's been able to visit!! I haven't seen "my Mishy" in a LONG time {since our Sorority's alumni weekend 4 years ago}. It's wayyyyy to long to go without your BFF! Our relationship rocks though, we picked it right up like no time has passed. It was amazing to meet her twin boys and she loved meeting Makenzie. The kids hit it off and now they're BFFs too. =) We're going over to her hotel to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow night... I can't wait! I should have taken Monday off. Lol.

Thinking: My living room is freezing! I think it's because of the fireplace and maybe the lack of insulation. It's not my house, so I have to just deal and put some gloves on.

Wanting: I have a white car, and I park it in the driveway which is under a very large tree. It gets SOOOOO dirty sitting there. It's gross. My hubby washed it only a few weeks ago, but it's really dirty AGAIN. After I wash it this weekend, I think I am going to start parking it across the street. There are no huge dirty trees there. =)

Needing: I still need a new dryer. Grrrrr. Car things like tires, brakes, and ignitions switches keep interfering with me getting a new dryer. Grrrrrrrrrr. Hopefully this month?? fingers crossed.

Last but not least, Pet PeevesI have a bunch of them. The two things that irritate me THE MOST are 1. kids in cars without seat belts on and 2. pencil chewing.  OK... the MOST important person in my life is my daughter. I will NOT start my car until she is strapped in, in fact  she still sits in a car seat (it goes up to 65 pounds, so she'll be sitting in it for a while!). I DON'T UNDERSTAND how parents can drive without their precious children not buckled in. I don't get it! I don't get it! I DON'T GET IT! It makes me mad. When I see someone driving with their kids all over the car, I give them dirty looks. I really boils my blood. Common sense people, if you're in a crash, there's a GOOD possibility that your child will fly through the windshield.... BUCKLE them up. It takes 2 seconds, plus it's the LAW.  wow... that was a rant. =)  I'm sure every teacher can relate to the pencil chewing. I have a child in my class this year who is a constant pencil and eraser chewer and even the metal on the pencil. It drives me INSANE. I've spoken to the child's mother, and she doesn't think it's a big deal. Uggggg. If you have any suggestions on how to make it stop, I'd LOVE to hear them! =)

Alrighty... now that you know what I am "currently" doing, link up with Farley, so I know what you're "currently" doing! =)

Be sure to check out our TPT store today through Monday! Everything is 20% off and if you shop tomorrow on Super Sunday, you'll also receive an extra 8% off at checkout with the promo code: super.  One of the items we just placed on TPT is our President's Day Super Pack which includes the very popular "So You Want to be President?" exemplar text unit AND the CCSS Magic Tree House Abe Lincoln Book Study unit... great price for both...please check it out!!

Have a gorgeous Groundhog's Day!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Blog Designer and some things...

Happy February, Friends!!!
It's been a few weeks! Where did January go?? I've been SUPER busy! There have been a few little projects that Danielle and I have been working on as well as a pretty BIG project that my hubby and I have been working on. We're finally ready to share it with our blogger community.

Since my husband redesigned our blog, we've had some inquiries about the design. Well, that got us thinking... why don't we {mainly him, but with lots of my input} start designing blogs? We tossed around ideas and names. He designed and redesigned our new blog a few times, and now we finally LOVE the final version of our new blog design company!  It's called Little Birdy Designs! How cute is this button??

Little Birdy Designs

We specialize in one of a kind blogger blogs, designed from scratch by your specifications. We don't use scrapbook kits or other pre-made templates for your design {if there is a piece of clip art or scrap that you'd love on your blog, we can make that happen!}. It's all original and completely custom!  If you're in the market for a new customized blog, or if your blog needs a makeover, please check us out and contact us! We'd LOVE to design or redesign your blog today! 

In my classroom we've been working on the Polar Bear Unit that I wrote a few weeks back. Here are some great pictures of them writing their amazing responses {for the most part, on their own!}. What great little writers I have!! We are going to begin our Arctic Animals research next week. It'll be their first time with research in my class. It should be tons of FUN!! 

The little {actually not so little} project that I've been working on is my Magic Tree House Abe Lincoln unit. These Common Core units are quite time consuming to do, but well worth the time and effort. 
When you check it out, download the preview for a great freebie!!

Have a Super Weekend! Don't forget to check out all of the AMAZING TPT items on sale this weekend!!


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